Parents may make the mistake of thinking that children will learn good manners through common sense. Nowadays, common sense isn’t so common and parents can sometimes be guilty of not showing the best manners consistently either. As a starting point, the children need to learn the importance of making good introductions. Just like playing any sport or instrument, practice is needed so that it becomes second nature. Good manners will then become the norm of behavior.

When can children make introductions? All the time…especially when families plan events so distant relatives and friends can reconnect or when children encounter the parent of one of his/her school chums. Meeting coaches and teachers are also excellent opportunities to practice introductions. Children learn that a good introduction is the first step in making a good first impression.

Here are the 6 Steps for an Introduction:

  1. Stand up – especially when the person they are meeting is standing.
  2. Make Eye Contact – This shows honesty and openness.
  3. Smile! – A smile shows friendliness and is inviting.
  4. Extend your right hand – think “web to web”. The web of the hand should touch the web of the other hand. Grasp firmly and shake twice. Connecting the “webs” together prevents both loosey goosey and bone crusher type handshakes.
  5. Introduce yourself: Say “Hello, my name is Robert”.
  6. Respond in Kind: Saying “Pleased to meet you, Susan” in return will the child help to remember the other person’s name. If the person is an adult, children should use the correct honorific, for example – Mr., Ms, Mrs, Miss, Dr., and the last name. It’s not correct etiquette for children to use the first name of a non-related adult who hasn’t given permission first.

Working these steps will result in introductions done well and with confidence. Consider role-playing with the children using silly hats and funny fictitious names before any event to help reinforce these steps. Even children as young as three years old, can learn to say, “Hello”, give eye contact and shake hands.

When the children go back to school, they will look forward to meeting their new teachers and using their new skills, and also encourage the children to introduce their friends to you. Routine and knowing what is expected are very important for children in order to feel safe and secure. Then every First Impression will truly be a good one for the children!!

Written by Maria Doll

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